I had been out of the Lego scene for a while by the time my daughter started playing with the stuff. In the sets she opened there was often this odd thing that put me in mind of a ski, or maybe even a ski slope. It didn’t seem to be part of the main design. It looked more like a tool, albeit one whose purpose struck me as being slightly alien. My daughter knew what it is, and, actually, it is a tool. It’s the Lego Brick Separator.
As far as I can understand the Separator goes back in lineage to 1987, which is about the time I stopped playing with Lego. The tool is a beautiful thing, often orange or teal, a slope with a few funny bits at the wide end. This tool has three main purposes, I gather: a wedge for separating bricks from base plates, a lever for applying pressure up or down to pull bricks away, and a sort of pokey bit for removing wheels from axels.
I love it because it feels so useful – it has an aura of deep utility to it. And I also love it because it acknowledges the sort of shadow world of Lego, that you build with it, sure, but you also have to take it apart. When I was a kid, the main Lego brick Separator was either fingernails or teeth. This one feels much safer. It’s also fun to just carry around in a pocket with all your other junk and maybe feel like you’re a bit more prepared for the world.